CORRECTION: Carter County Corona Concerns: with Katrina Barker APRN-BC

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Katrina Barker helps a lot of local people take care of their health.

After seeing her final patient of the day Tuesday (March 11,2020) she offered a few of her thoughts about concerns and precautions about the corona virus with the Carter County Post.

Barker, is an APRN-BC Advanced Practice Registered Nurse – Board Certified for 19 years, with five years at Hometown Health in Grayson. Her patients in recent days have had concerns about infectious diseases, she reported, although she notes corona virus is not at the top of their lists.

“They’re getting more worried about the flu because that’s what we are seeing now,” Barker said, explaining Flu-A and Flu-B have followed a surge-lull-surge pattern which is back on the upswing. “Right now it is Flu-A mostly.”

Corona is not a new virus, Barker points out, and much like the flu it is of most concern to people whose health is already compromised.

“People who have conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or who is a cancer patient on chemotherapy – those people are at a higher risk of death or extra complications,” she said.

“It’s our vulnerable population we need to pay attention to. You and I should be OK,” she  said, adding she feels it is appropriate to limit access to facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals.

While otherwise healthy people tend to suffer only “relatively mild” symptoms with corona virus, Barker urges everyone to adopt or continue a few basic practices to limit the viral spread.

“Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! We preach that,” she said with a smile.

“Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t touch your face.”

Corona is not an airborne virus, although coughing and sneezing allow it to spread by physical contact – such as when someone touches a droplet on the arm of a chair, then touches their own eyes, nose or mouth. 

“Maybe people will finally learn to wash their hands,” Barker said with a shrug of the shoulders, recalling the local reaction to a recent Hepatitis A outbreak was initially strong, but quickly faded.

“I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to get people to take a flu shot?” she said.

“I agree it (Corona Virus) is a problem and people are going to die from it, so I don’t want to make light of it. But, you are more likely to catch, and die from, the flu,” Barker concluded.

Barker notes there are no cases of corona “That I know of,” in children, who she describes as members of “the hand sanitizer generation.”

Masks, she said, are likely more important to prevent someone from spreading a virus, Barker added. Since the virus is not airborne, masks will not prevent transmission of the bug. A mask would, however, help someone who has the virus to better contain fluids from coughing and sneezing, she explained.

“Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t touch your face.”

                                         Story and Photo by TIM PRESTON

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